This policy is issued in line with the following guidance but is not limited to;
- Working together to safeguard children document 2018
- What to do if you’re worried a child is being abused – Advice for practitioners – March 2015
- The education inspection framework – July 2021
- The Prevent duty – June 2015
- Information sharing – Advice for practitioners providing safeguarding services to children, young people, parents and carers – July 2018
- Keeping Children Safe in Education 2021
Safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children, for the sake of this policy is defined as:
- Protecting young people from maltreatment
- Preventing the impairment of young people’s health or development
- Ensuring that young people are growing up in circumstances consistent with the provision of safe and effective care
- Taking action to enable all young people to have the best outcomes
(Definition taken from the HM Government document ‘Working together to safeguard children’ 2018)
Aspire Training Team fully recognises and actively supports the safeguarding of young people and vulnerable adults. We recognise that all staff, volunteers and others in contact with our learners have a full and active part to play in protecting them from harm and abuse whether it is physical, sexual, verbal, psychological/emotional, and financial or neglect.
This policy informs the learners/parents/staff that Aspire Training Team are obliged to report any suspicions around abuse to Children’s Social Care, and/or health services, whether this stems from allegations from staff, volunteers, carers or the general public.
This policy is shared with learners as part of their induction to training, they sign to agree they have read and understood the content
Staff are issued with the policy as part of their induction to the workplace
Young Peoples welfare can only be safeguarded and promoted, and individuals at risk, protected when all relevant agencies and individuals accept their share of responsibility and co-operate with one another in a multi-agency approach
Recruitment, Induction and Training
Under the recruitment and selection process of the company, all staff appointed by Aspire Training Team are required to have an enhanced Disclosure and Barring Check (DBS), health check, reference check and a staff suitability form completed. The company holds a central record of all staff DBS numbers. Any outstanding checks are followed up by HR.
Aspire Training Team has a Designated Safeguarding Lead who is responsible for the induction and regular training of staff as well as following up any concerns or allegations.
All staff will undertake training and keep up-to-date with Safeguarding children. All staff have access to an online training system called IHASCO where they complete their Level 2 Safeguarding training, Sexual Harassment training and other appropriate courses and are able to access, read and sign the company policies and procedures. All staff receive safeguarding updates in the staff meetings as well as regular KITS/supervisions where they are given the opportunity to discuss any safeguarding concerns regarding other staff or learners.
Types of abuse
There are five recognised areas of abuse (SPEND) :
- Sexual abuse
- Physical abuse
- Emotional abuse
- Domestic abuse
Under these broad categories of abuse are many other types of abuse and all staff are committed to Safeguarding children and within their job role they are required to notice and report to the DSL any signs of abuse, including the following:-
When a child or young person is sexually abused they are forced or tricked into sexual activities. Sexual abuse can happen anywhere and it can happen in person or online. There are two types of sexual abuse – contact and non-contact abuse.
Contact abuse is where the abuser makes physical contact with a young person. This includes;
- sexual touching of any part of a young person’s body – clothed or unclothed
- using a body part or object to rape or penetrate a young person
- forcing a young person to take part in sexual activities
- Making a young person undress or touch someone else
Sexual abuse isn’t just penetrative and can include touching, kissing and oral sex.
Non-contact abuse is where a young person is abused without being touched by the abuser. This can be in person or online and includes;
- Exposing or flashing
- Showing pornography
- Exposing a young person to sexual acts
- Making them masturbate
- Forcing a young person to make, view or share child abuse images or video’s
- Making, viewing or distributing child abuse videos or images
- Forcing a young person to take part in sexual activities online
Some of the possible signs that may help staff recognise if a young person is being sexually abused are below.
Young people who are sexually abused may;
- Stay away from certain people
- Avoid being alone with people
- Appear frightened to socialise with others especially adults
Grooming is when someone builds an emotional connection with a young person to gain their trust for the purposes of sexual abuse, sexual exploitation or trafficking. Children and young people can be groomed online or face-to-face, by a stranger or by someone they know – for example a family member, friend or professional. Groomers may be male or female and of any age. Many children and young people do not understand that they have been groomed or that what has happened is abuse. Groomers sometimes spend a long time gaining a child’s trust and that of their family, so they can spend time alone with the young person. Sometimes people who work with children may use the same approach with colleagues in the work place.
Some of the signs you may see if a young person is being groomed could include;
- Being very secretive about how they’re spending their time, including when online
- Having an older boyfriend or girlfriend
- Having money or new things like clothes and mobile phones that they can’t or won’t explain
- Underage drinking or drug taking
- Spending more or less time online or on their devices
- Being upset, withdrawn or distressed
- Sexualised behaviours, language or an understanding or sex that’s not appropriate for their age
Child sexual exploitation (CSE)
Child sexual exploitation (CSE) is a type of sexual abuse. When a child or young person is exploited they’re given things, like gifts, drugs, money, status and affection, in exchange for performing sexual activities. They may trust their abuser and not understand that they’re being abused.
Children and young people can be trafficked into or within the UK to be sexually exploited. They’re moved around the country and abused by being forced to take part in sexual activities, often with more than one person. Young people in gangs can also be sexually exploited.
Some of the signs that a young person is being sexually exploited may include;
- Unhealthy or inappropriate sexual behaviour
- Being frightened of some people, places or situations
- Being secretive
- Sharp changes in mood or character
- Having money or things they can’t or won’t explain
- Alcohol or drug misuse
- Sexually transmitted infections
Other indications may be;
- Having an older boyfriend or girlfriend
- Staying out late or overnight
- Having a new group of friends
- Missing from home or care, or stopping going to work, place of study
- Hanging out with older people, other vulnerable people or in anti-social groups
Where someone takes a picture under a person’s clothing without their knowledge or permission and or knowledge, with the intention of viewing their genitals or buttocks (with or without underwear) to obtain sexual gratification, or cause the victim humiliation, distress or alarm. It is a criminal offence. Anyone of any gender, can be a victim.
Sexual Violence and Sexual Harassment
Some learners may have been, or are at risk of becoming victims, or perpetrators of sexual violence or sexual harassment. This is not limited to the work or Training centre environment, and any disclosure or suspicion that a learner may be a victim or perpetrator must be discussed with the DSL without delay, so appropriate action may be taken.
Physical abuse is a form of abuse which may involve hitting with hands or objects, slapping and punching, shaking, kicking, throwing, poisoning, burning and scalding, biting and scratching, breaking bones, drowning.
If a young person has regular injuries, there seems to be a pattern to the injuries or the explanation doesn’t match the injuries, then this should be reported immediately with the setting DSL.
Physical abuse symptoms may include;
- Broken or fractured bones
- Burns or scalds
- Bite marks
Physical abuse can also include other injuries and health problems such as;
- The effects of poisoning, such as vomiting, drowsiness or seizures
- Breathing problems from drawing, suffocation and poisoning
Non-accidental bruising or injury areas
If staff notice bruising or markings on a young person in any of the non-accidental bruising areas, this must be reported to the DSL immediately.
Fabricated and Induced Illness or Injury (FII)
Fabricated or induced illness (FII) is a rare form of child abuse which occurs when a parent or carer, exaggerates or deliberately causes symptoms of illness in their child. FII can involve children of all ages, but most severe cases are usually associated with children under 5.
FII is also known as ‘Munchausen’s syndrome by proxy’ (not to be confused with Munchausen’s syndrome, where a person pretends to be ill or causes illness or injury to themselves).
FII covers a wide range of symptoms and behaviours involving parents seeking healthcare for a child who is not unwell and is perfectly healthy, including: extreme neglect to induce illness, exaggeration of/or inventing symptoms, deliberate injury to the child (included under the definition of physical abuse), manipulation of test results to suggest the presence of illness and deliberately inducing symptoms of illness for example poisoning a child with unnecessary medication or other substance.
Honour based violence
A collection of practices, which are used to control behaviour within families or other social groups to protect perceived cultural and religious beliefs and/or honour. Such violence can occur when perpetrators perceive that a relative has shamed the family and/or community by breaking their honour code.
For young victims it is a form of child abuse and a serious abuse of human rights.
It can be distinguished from other forms of violence, as it is often committed with some degree of approval and/or collusion from family and/or community members. Women, men and younger members of the family can all be involved in the abuse.
Honour based violence manifests itself in a diverse range of ways with children and young people, including forced marriage, domestic and/or sexual violence, rape, physical assaults, harassment, kidnap, threats of violence (including murder), witnessing violence directed towards a sibling or indeed another family member, and female genital mutilation (FGM)
Young people may be subject to honour based violence for reasons which may seem improbable or relatively minor to others. EG, Behaviours that could be seen to dishonour include:
- Inappropriate make-up or dress;
- The existence of a boyfriend or a perceived unsuitable relationship e.g. a gay/lesbian relationship;
- Rejecting a forced marriage;
- Pregnancy outside of marriage;
- Being a victim of rape;
- Inter-faith relationships (or same faith, but different ethnicity);
- Leaving a spouse or seeking divorce;
- Kissing or intimacy in a public place;
- Alcohol and drugs use.
The ‘One Chance Rule’
All practitioners working with victims of honour based violence need to be aware of the ‘one chance’ rule. That is, they may only have one chance to speak to a potential victim and thus they may only have one chance to save a life. This means that all practitioners working within statutory agencies need to be aware of their responsibilities and obligations when they come across these cases. If the victim is allowed to walk out of the door without support being offered, that one chance might be wasted.
Female genital mutilation (FGM)
FGM is a type of physical abuse that is practised as a cultural ritual by certain ethnic groups and there is now more awareness of its prevalence in some communities in England, including its effect on the young person and any other siblings involved. This procedure may be carried out shortly after birth and during childhood as well as adolescence, just before marriage or during a woman’s first pregnancy and varies widely according to the community. Symptoms may include bleeding, painful areas, acute urinary retention, urinary infection, wound infection, septicaemia, and incontinence, vaginal and pelvic infections with depression and post-traumatic stress disorder as well as physiological concerns.
If a staff member has concerns about a young person relating to this area, they should report this to the DSL who would contact children’s social care team in the same way as other types of physical abuse. There is a mandatory duty to report to police any case where an act of female genital mutilation appears to have been carried out on a girl under the age of 18.
Breast ironing or breast flattening originates mainly from Cameroon and parts of Africa and involves pounding or massaging the breasts with hot objects including spatulas, rocks and hammers. The reasons for this practice relate to the desire to keep female children “childlike” therefore protecting them from unwanted male attention, rape and early pregnancy which would shame the family. Some children have breast ironing carried out by their female relatives including their mothers as a way of protecting them from forced or arranged marriage when they are young.
The effects of breast ironing are far reaching and include:
- Issues with breast feeding
- Mental health including depression
- Links to increased risk of breast cancer
Concerns have been raised that breast ironing is taking place in African communities in the United Kingdom and therefore it has been included in statutory guidance relating to “Honour Based Violence”. Managers are to be aware of risk according to information held by their Local Safeguarding Children’s Board.
Emotional abuse is any type of abuse that involves the continual emotional mistreatment of a child. Emotional abuse can involve deliberately trying to scare, humiliate, isolate or ignore a child.
Emotional abuse can involve any of the following:
- Humiliating or constantly criticising
- Shouting at, threatening or calling names
- Making the young person subject of jokes or using sarcasm to hurt them
- Blaming and scapegoating
- Making a young person perform degrading acts
- Pushing a young person too hard or not recognising their limitations
- Exposing a young person to distressing events or interactions such as domestic abuse or drug taking
- Persistently ignoring them
- Being absent
Young people can show different emotions for a variety of reasons such as change in routine, tiredness or changes at home so it can sometimes be difficult to identify if a young person is being emotionally abused.
Some of the possible signs of emotional abuse could be that the young person may;
- Be overly affectionate to strangers or people they don’t know well
- Seem unconfident, wary or anxious
- Be aggressive towards other people or animals
- Struggle to control their emotions
- Have extreme outbursts
- Seem isolated from their peers
- Lack social skills
- Have few or no friends
Neglect is the ongoing failure to meet a young person’s basic needs and the most common form of child abuse. This can put children and young people in danger. And it can also have long term effects on their physical and mental wellbeing.
Neglect can be a lot of different things, which can make it hard to spot. But broadly speaking, there are 4 types of neglect:
- Physical Neglect – A young person’s basic needs,
- Educational neglect – A parent doesn’t ensure their child is given an education
- Emotional neglect – A young person doesn’t get the nurture and stimulation they need. This could be through ignoring, humiliating, intimidating or isolating the young person
- Medical neglect – A young person isn’t given proper health care. This includes dental care and refusing or ignoring medical recommendations
Having one of the signs of neglect doesn’t necessarily mean a young person is being neglected, but multiple signs that last for a while might show there is a serious problem. Children and young people who are neglected might have:
Poor appearance and hygiene
A young person may;
- Be smelly or dirty
- Be hungry or not given adequate food
- Have unwashed clothes
- Have the wrong clothing such as no warm clothes in winter
Health and development problems
A young person may have;
- Untreated injuries, medical or dental issues
- Repeated accidental injuries
- Recurring illnesses and infections
- Not been given appropriate medicines
- Missed medical appointments
- Skin issues such as sores, rashes, flea bites, scabies or ringworm
- Thin or swollen tummy
- Weight or growth issues
Housing and family issues
A young person may be;
- Living in an unsuitable home environment – animal mess, no heating
- Left alone for a long time
- Taking on the role of carer for other family members including siblings
Change in behaviour
A young person may;
- Become aggressive
- Be withdrawn, depressed or anxious
- Have a change in eating habits
- Display obsessive behaviour
- Find it hard to concentrate or take part in activities
- Miss work or placement
Domestic abuse is any type of controlling, coercive, threatening behaviour, violence or abuse between people who are, or who have been in a relationship, regardless of gender or sexuality. It can include physical, sexual, psychological, emotional or financial abuse.
Domestic abuse can include:
- Sexual abuse and rape (including within a relationship)
- Punching, kicking, cutting, hitting with an object
- Withholding money or preventing someone from earning money
- Taking control over aspects of someone’s everyday life, which can include where they go and what they wear
- Not letting someone leave the house
- Reading emails, text messages or letters
- Threatening to kill or harm them, a partner, another family member or pet.
Witnessing and experiencing domestic abuse
Domestic abuse always has an impact on children, they may experience it directly or indirectly (as below), both are forms of child abuse.
- Hearing the abuse from another room
- Seeing a parent’s injuries or distress afterwards
- Finding disarray like broken furniture
- Being hurt from being nearby or trying to stop the abuse
- Experiencing a reduced quality in parenting as a result of the abuse
Domestic abuse can have a serious effect on a child’s behaviour, brain development and overall wellbeing. It undermines a child’s basic need for safety and security and can have a negative impact on a child’s:
- education outcomes
- mental health
Psychological effects of experiencing domestic abuse include:
- aggression and challenging behaviour
- anxiety – including worrying about a parent’s safety
- changes in mood
- difficulty interacting with others
- fearfulness, including fear of conflict
- suicidal thoughts or feelings
Children who experience parental conflict may also have an increased likelihood of displaying behaviour like smoking, drug use and early sexual activity
Domestic abuse can cause confusing relationships with parents. Children may:
- not have a strong bond with their parents/carers
- worry their parents will divorce
- hope an abused parent will leave for safety reasons
- be afraid of their parents.
Teenagers may worry that being raised in abusive environment will affect their own future relationships.
It can be difficult to tell if domestic abuse is happening, because it usually takes place in the family home and the abusers can act very differently when other people are around.
Criminal exploitation and gangs (County Lines)
County Lines is form of exploitation, including child exploitation. County lines gangs use children and other vulnerable people to move drugs and money to and across areas, using traditional gang culture as well as targeted and specific grooming of individuals. Once caught up in county lines, both adults and children are at risk of extreme physical and/or sexual violence, gang recriminations and trafficking.
Criminals deliberately target vulnerable young people. Gangs groom them into trafficking their drugs for them with the promises of money, phones, friendship and belonging. In reality, young people are then controlled using threats, violence and sexual abuse. The effects of this are they live in fear and continue being exploited as they feel that they have no way to leave and live a different life – so they keep doing what the gang wants.
Some of the signs of criminal exploitation and county lines may include;
- Returning home late, staying out all night or going missing
- Being found in areas away from home
- Increasing drug use, or being found to have large amounts of drugs on them
- Being secretive about who they are talking to and where they are going
- Unexplained absences from work or placement
- Unexplained money, phone(s), clothes or jewellery
- Increasing disruptive or aggressive behaviour
- Coming home with injuries or looking particularly dishevelled
The risk to a child, young person, and their family and friends, as a result of experiencing criminal exploitation can include but is not limited to;
- Physical injuries; risk of serious violence and death
- Emotional and psychological trauma
- Sexual violence; sexual assault, rape, indecent images being taken and shared as part of initiation/revenge/punishment, internally inserting drugs
- Debt Bondage – young person and families being ‘in debt’ to the exploiters; which is used to control the young person
- Neglect basic needs not being met
- Living in unclean, dangerous and/or unhygienic environments
- Tiredness and sleep deprivation; young person is expected to carry out criminal activities over long periods and throughout the night
- Poor attendance and/or attainment at /school/college/placement
The home of a family/child of a drug user, or other vulnerable person, that is taken over by a criminal gang is often referred to a cuckooing.
Signs that cuckooing may have taken place include;
- Signs of drug use
- More people coming and going from the property
- More cars or bikes outside
- Litter outside
- You haven’t seen the person who lives there recently or when you have, they’ve seemed anxious, distracted or not themselves.
Young People living in a property where cuckooing may be taking place are at risk of neglect and other types of abuse
Child trafficking and modern slavery
Child trafficking and modern slavery are child abuse; young people are recruited, moved or transported and then exploited, forced to work or sold. Many young people are trafficked into the UK from abroad, but they can also be trafficked from one part of the UK to another.
Young people are trafficked for; child sexual exploitation, benefit fraud, forced marriage, domestic enslavement such as cleaning, cooking and childcare, forced labour in factories or farms and criminal activity such as pickpocketing, begging, transporting drugs, working on cannabis farms, selling pirated DVDs and bag theft.
It may not be obvious that a young person has been trafficked but you might notice unusual or unexpected things. They might:
- Talk about completing a lot of household jobs
- Be orphaned or living apart from their family
- Live in low-standard accommodation
- Be unsure which country, city or town they’re in
- Can’t or are reluctant to share personal information or where they live
- Not be registered with a GP practice
- Have no access to their parents or guardians
- Be seen in inappropriate places like brothels or factories
- Have money or things you wouldn’t expect them to
- Give a prepared story which is very similar to stories given by others
Witchcraft (Faith based violence)
The term ‘belief in spirit possession’ is the belief that an evil force has entered a young person and is controlling him or her. Sometimes the term ‘witch’ is used and is the belief that they are able to use an evil force to harm others. There is also a range of other language that is connected to such abuse. This includes black magic, kindoki, ndoki, the evil eye, djinns, voodoo, obeah, demons, and child sorcerers.
Witchcraft beliefs are used to blame a person (rather than circumstances) for misfortune that happens in life. Genuine beliefs can be held by families, carers, religious leaders, congregations, and the children themselves that evil forces are at work. Families and children can be deeply worried by the evil that they believe is threatening them, and abuse often occurs when an attempt is made to ‘exorcise’, or ‘deliver’ the young person. Exorcism is the attempt to expel evil spirits from a person.
A number of faith groups have beliefs, which affect how they use health services and specifically treatment and immunisations for children. A number of churches and faith groups believe in the power of prayers and faith in God and as a result may refuse medical interventions and treatments including assistance at child births, health checks and immunisations. Where a practitioner becomes aware of a belief held by the parents, where it may impact on the health and development of the young person, the practitioner should consult with other professionals to assess the potential risks of significant harm to them.
The number of known cases of child abuse linked to accusations of ‘possession’ or ‘witchcraft’ is small, but children involved can suffer damage to their physical and mental health, their capacity to learn, their ability to form relationships and to their self-esteem. It is likely that a proportion of this type of abuse remains unreported.
There is often a weak bond of attachment between the carer and the young person.
The attempt to ‘exorcise’ may involve severe beating, burning, starvation, cutting or stabbing and isolation, and usually occurs in the household where the young person lives.
Any siblings in the household may be well cared for with all their needs met by the parents and carers. The siblings may have been drawn in by the adults to view the young person as ‘different’ and may have been encouraged to participate in the adult activities.
It can take place (most often in the family home) for some of the following reasons:
– Abuse as a result of a young person being accused of being a ‘witch’
– Abuse as a result of a young person being accused of being possessed by ‘evil spirits’
– Ritualistic abuse which is prolonged sexual, physical and psychological abuse
– Satanic abuse carried out in the name of ‘Satan’ and may have links to cults
– Any other harmful practice linked to a belief or faith
Abuse can involve:
– Ritualistic beating, burning, cutting, stabbing, semi-strangulating, tying up, or rubbing chilli peppers or other substances on the young person’s genitals/eyes.
– Isolation. The young person may not be allowed near or to share a room with family members, and threatened with abandonment. They themselves may also be convinced that they are possessed.
– Not provided with appropriate medical care, supervision, education, good hygiene, nourishment, clothing or warmth.
– Sexual abuse as the family or community exploit the belief as a form of control or threat
Common factors and causes
– Belief in evil spirits – Belief in evil spirits that can ‘possess’ children is often accompanied by a belief that a possessed person can ‘infect’ others with the condition.
– Scapegoating – A young person could be singled out as the cause of misfortune within the home, such as financial difficulties, divorce, infidelity, illness or death.
– Bad behaviour – Sometimes bad or abnormal behaviour is attributed to spiritual forces. Examples include a young person being disobedient, rebellious, overly independent, wetting the bed, having nightmares or falling ill.
– Physical and emotional differences- A young person could be singled out for having a physical difference or disability. Documented cases included children with learning disabilities, mental health issues, epilepsy, autism, stammers, deafness and LGBTQ+.
– Gifts and uncommon characteristics- If a young person has a particular skill or talent, this can sometimes be rationalised as the result of possession or witchcraft. This can also be the case if the child is from a multiple or difficult pregnancy.
What to look out for
- physical injuries, such as bruises or burns (including historical injuries/scaring)
- a young person reporting that they are or have been accused of being ‘evil’, and/or that they are having the ‘devil beaten out of them’
- the young person or family may use words such as ‘kindoki’, ‘djin’, ‘juju’ or ‘voodoo’ – all of which refer to spiritual beliefs
- a young person becoming noticeably confused, withdrawn, disorientated or isolated and appearing alone amongst other children
- a young person’s personal care deteriorating (eg rapid loss of weight, being hungry, being unkempt with dirty clothes)
- a young person’s parent or carer not having a close bond with them
- a young person’s attendance becomes irregular or stops
- a deterioration in a young person’s development
- Wearing unusual jewellery/items or in possession of strange ornaments/scripts.
Bullying and Cyberbullying
Bullying is behaviour that hurts someone else. It includes name calling, hitting, pushing, spreading rumours, threatening or undermining someone.
It can happen anywhere –work, at home or online. It’s usually repeated over a long period of time and can hurt a child both physically and emotionally.
It is important to be aware that bullying can take different forms. It could include;
- Physical bullying: hitting, slapping or pushing someone
- Verbal bullying: name calling, gossiping or threatening someone
- Non-verbal abuse: hand signs or text messages
- Emotional abuse; threatening, intimidating or humiliating someone
- Exclusion: ignoring or isolating someone
- Undermining, constant criticism or spreading rumours
- Controlling or manipulating someone
The following types of bullying are also hate crime:
- Racial, sexual, transphobic or homophobic bullying
- Bullying someone because they have a disability
Cyberbullying is bullying that takes place online. Cyberbullying can include:
- Sending threatening or abusive text messages
- Creating and sharing embarrassing images or videos
- Excluding others from online games, activities or friendship groups
- Shaming someone online
- Setting up hate sites or groups about a particular child or young person
- Encouraging young people to self-harm
- Creating fake accounts, hijacking or stealing online identities to embarrass a young person or cause trouble using their name
- Sending explicit messages, also known as sexting
- Pressuring young people into sending sexual images or engaging in sexual conversations
No single sign will indicate for certain a child or young person is being bullied but the following may be signs:
- Belongings getting lost or damaged
- Physical injuries, such as unexplained bruises
- Being afraid to go to work or placement being mysteriously ill each morning
- Not doing well on their course
- Asking for, or stealing, money
- Being nervous, losing confidence, or becoming distressed and withdrawn
- Problems with eating and sleeping
- Bullying others
Please see E-Safety Policy for more information on how we keep learners safe online
Online abuse is any type of abuse that happens on the internet. It can happen across any device that is connected to the web e.g. phone, computers, tablets. And it can happen anywhere online, including:
- Social media
- Online chat
- Text messages
- Messaging apps
- Online gaming
- Live-streaming sites
Young people can be at risk of online abuse from people they know as well as strangers and it can also be a part of abuse which is taking part offline such as bullying or grooming.
Children and young people may experience one or more of the following types of online abuse:
- Emotional abuse
- Sexual abuse
- Sexual exploitation
Some of the signs that a child or young person is being abused online may include:
- They may spend a lot more or a lot less time than usual online, texting, gaming or using social media
- They may seem distant, upset or angry after using the internet or texting
- They may become secretive
- They have lots of new phone numbers, texts or email addresses
Signs of online abuse can be similar to other types of abuse such as cyberbullying, grooming, sexual abuse, child sexual exploitation.
Non-recent child abuse, sometimes called historical abuse, is when an older child or adult was abused when they were younger.
The impact of child abuse can last a lifetime. Abuse can have a huge effect on a person’s health, relationships and education and can stop them from having the childhood and life they deserve.
The effects of child abuse can be short term but can sometimes last into adulthood. If someone is abused as a child, it’s more likely that they will suffer abuse again. This is known as revictimisation.
The long term effects of abuse and neglect can include;
- Emotional difficulties like anger, sadness or low self-esteem
- Mental health problems like depression, eating disorders, self-harm or suicidal thoughts
- Problems with drugs or alcohol
- Disturbing thoughts, emotions and memories
- Poor physical health
- Struggling with parenting or relationships
Adverse childhood experiences
Adverse childhood experiences, or ACE’s, are potentially traumatic events that occur in childhood (0-17 years). For example:
- Experiencing violence, abuse or neglect
- Parental abandonment through separation or divorce
- Witnessing violence in the home or community
- Having a family member attempt or die by suicide
Also included are aspects of the child’s environment that can undermine their sense of safety, stability and bonding such as growing up in a household with:
- Substance misuse
- Mental health problems
- Instability due to parental separation or household members being in prison
ACE’s are linked to chronic health problems, mental illness and substance misuse in adulthood. ACE’s can also negatively impact education and job opportunities.
However ACE’s can be prevented. Creating and sustaining safe, stable, nurturing relationships and environments for all young people and families can prevent ACE’s and help them reach their full potential.
This video shows an explanation of ACE’s:
Effective early help relies upon local organisations working together to:
- Identify young people and families who would benefit from early help
- Undertake assessment of the need for early help
- Provide targeted early help services to address the assessed needs of a young person and their family which focuses on activity to improve the outcomes for that person.
Staff should, in particular, be alert to the potential need for early help for a young person who:
- Is disabled and has specific additional needs
- Has special educational needs (whether or not they have a statutory Education, Health and Care Plan)
- Is a young carer
- Is showing signs of being drawn into anti-social or criminal behaviour, including gang involvement and association with organised crime groups
- Is frequently missing/goes missing from care or from home
- Is at risk of modern slavery, trafficking or exploitation
- Is at risk of being radicalised or exploited
- Is in a family circumstance presenting challenges for the young person, such as drug and alcohol misuse, adult mental health issues and domestic abuse
- Is mis-using drugs or alcohol themselves
- Has returned home to their family from care
- Is a privately fostered young person
- Is showing early signs of abuse and/or neglect
Roles and responsibilities of staff
All staff have a responsibility to report safeguarding concerns and suspicions of abuse. If staff have any concerns regarding the safety or welfare of a young person they must notify the DSL.
If a staff member has concerns about the young persons welfare or receives a disclosure of abuse they will discuss this with the Designated Safeguarding Lead (DSL) or in their absence the Deputy DSL.
All concerns must be recorded on a safeguarding report. When completing a safeguarding report staff must make an objective record of any observations or disclosure and include:
- Young persons Name
- Date and time of observation or the disclosure
- Exact words spoken by the young person (factual)
- Exact observation of an incident including any other witnesses
- Exact position and type of injury (a body graph must also be filled in)
- Any previous concerns
- Name of the person to whom the concern was reported
The DSL will record any action taken to include discussion with parents/carers and any outside agencies. These records should be signed by the person reporting the concerns and the DSL.
Any signs of marks/injuries must be recorded on a safeguarding body graph form which must be kept alongside an incident of concern form.
A safeguarding chronology must be started or updated, to ensure all information is easily accessible and provides a clear timeline of events and facts. The chronology must contain records of all professional discussions, emails sent, telephone calls etc.
The above forms will then be stored securely on the company s drive.
If there are queries/concerns regarding the injury/information given, then the following procedures will take place:
The Designated Safeguarding Lead will:
- Contact the local authority children’s social care team to report concerns and seek advice (if it is believed a young person is in immediate danger we will contact the police)
- Record the information and action taken relating to the concern raised
- Speak to the parents (unless advised not do so by LA Children’s Social Care team)
- The Designated Safeguarding Lead will follow up with the Local Authority children’s social care team if they have not contacted the setting within the timeframe set out in Working Together to Safeguarding Children (2018). We will never assume that action has been taken
Each local authority has a FSH (Family Support Hub), MASH (Multi Agency Support Hub) or similar. DSL’s or any staff member can contact these services if they have any concerns surrounding the welfare of a young person and require advice. DSL’s may contact their local authority support following advice from children’s social care.
FSH, MASH or other LA contact details
An allegation of child abuse or neglect could lead to criminal investigation so it is important that staff do not do anything that may jeopardise a Police investigation, for example ask leading questions or attempt to investigate the allegations of abuse.
Referrals to children’s social care
Referrals should be made in accordance with local arrangements, to the Children’s Social Care in the area where the young person is living. Alternatively, if the young person is known to have an allocated social worker, referrals should be made directly to them. They take the lead role in enquiring about child protection issues related to the young person whilst Aspire Training Team will retain the responsibility for disciplinary actions if an accusation of abuse is aimed at staff or volunteer.
Any Early Help Assessments or relevant reports from outside agencies that have been undertaken will be attached to the referral.
Children’s Social Care must acknowledge referrals within one working day of receipt of the written referral. If no acknowledgement is received within three working days, the referrer must contact Children’s Social Care again.
Where Children’s Social Care decides to take no action, the referrer should anticipate feedback about the decision and its rationale. If the referrer believes that a referral has not been dealt with appropriately they can ask for social services escalation policy and request a review. (This can be found on the LSCB website).
Aspire Training Team staff may be asked:
- To attend the child/family meetings with support from the setting DSL
- Contribute to Early Help Assessments and attend meetings with other professionals
- To complete inter-agency forms which includes information on: nature of concern, how and why a concern has arisen, needs of the young person and family, how urgent action is needed to make the young person safe, full details of the young person and parents (Aptem record), have parents been informed of the referral? The person who has reported the concern, completed body map, witness statements and relevant history
Aspire Training Team staff must:
- Document any comments that a young person makes which gives them cause for concern
- Not force the young person to talk about the abuse
- Give comfort and support to the young person as required. This may include first aid, food, comfort, clothing, and general hygiene
- Maintain confidentiality for the protection of the young person and family
- Remember all information is on a need to know basis
- Ensure the condition does not deteriorate any further
- Report any concerns immediately after a disclosure or witnessing an incident
- Give consideration to the wishes and feelings of the young person as these are vital elements in assessing risk and formulating protection plans, and must always be sought and given weight according to the level of understanding of the young person
- Where possible during enquiries into concerns, seek the involvement and support of those who have parental responsibility for, or regular care of a young person, this should be encouraged and facilitated, unless doing so compromises that enquiry or the young person’s immediate or long term welfare
- Liaise with parents regarding relevant information such as unusual lateness or absence ensuring that this information is recorded on the Safeguarding Chronology
If for any reason a staff member reports concerns about a young person to another colleague, other than the DSL, the colleague must advise the staff member to speak directly to the DSL. The colleague must also follow up with the DSL to ensure that the staff member has reported the concerns.
At Aspire Training Team we recognise contextual safeguarding and take this into consideration across all our sites to minimise any risk to the young people we work with.
Contextual safeguarding recognises the impact of the public/social context on a young person’s life and seeks to identify and respond to young people’s experiences of harm and abuse outside their home, either from adults or other young people. Examples of contextual safeguarding risks may include local gangs, radicalisation, poverty, grooming and county lines. (drug movement)
At Aspire Training Team our Designated Safeguarding Leads familiarise themselves with local factors that may provide a risk to our young people. We can then use this information to educate our learner and provide age appropriate information
Further information can be found at:
Allegations against a member of staff or setting
Any allegation of abuse must be reported to the DSL. A safeguarding chronology must be started by the staff member reporting to the LADO and all advice and actions are to be recorded throughout the process.
If the DSL is implicated in the allegation, the concern must be reported to a Managing Director at Head Office on 01202 551553. In either case a record of the report, which is timed, dated and includes a clear name or signature must be made.
If, for any reason, there are difficulties with following the above procedure,
’whistle blowing’ should be considered or a referral made directly to Children’s Social
Care and/or the Police.
The following procedure will take place in the event of an allegation against a staff member:
The DSL will report the incident to their Company DSL. The DSL has a duty to ensure contact is made with the LADO who will take the lead and instruct Aspire of action required, including whether or not to suspend the member of staff from duty.
If an investigation is taking place with regards to the care of a specific young person, the DSL must notify the parent/carer of the young person.
If it is believed a young person may have sustained an injury the companies and accident and incident report procedure must be followed.
Any staff who are accused of child abuse are subject to our normal procedures for Gross Misconduct. They may be suspended pending investigation (suspension is normally discussed at the first strategy meeting). Suspension must be considered if: there is cause to suspect a young person is at risk of significant harm, or the allegation warrants investigation by the Police, or the allegation is so serious that it might be grounds for dismissal.
The local Social Services Team would lead the investigation with support from our Operations team. In some cases the LADO will advise that internal investigations take place. Our HR department will be involved in supporting with internal investigations and an outcome will be determined and feedback to the LADO.
The outcome of investigation will be one of the following:-
- Substantiated – Sufficient identifiable evidence to prove the allegation
- False – Evidence to disprove the allegation
- Malicious – Sufficient evidence to disprove allegation and there has been a deliberate act to deceive
- Unfounded – No evidence or proper basis which supports the allegation being made. It might also indicate that the person making the allegation misinterpreted the incident or was mistaken by what they saw. Alternatively they may not have been aware of the full circumstances
- Unsubstantiated – Insufficient evidence to either prove or disprove the allegation. The term therefore does not imply guilt or innocence
Safeguarding chronology would be updated with the outcome of any allegation.
The member of staff would be invited to a meeting to discuss the outcome of the investigations and any agreed actions.
A meeting would be arranged to share the results of the enquiry with any parents/carers that are involved and a strategy meeting may be held by the LADO.
If the complaint is substantiated the staff member would be considered for dismissal for Gross Misconduct. Staff going through such a hearing would be offered access to our counselling service as would other members of the team. The Police would be informed, and we would assist them with any further actions.
We have a duty to make a referral to the disclosure and barring service where a
member of staff is dismissed, or would have been, had the person not left the company first, because they have harmed a young person or put them at risk of harm.
If there is no proof of any misconduct the suspension is lifted and the person would be allowed back to work. The staff member is paid throughout this procedure. Staff who resume work would be supported or counselled and offered re-training if required.
Upon induction, all staff are made aware of the importance of maintaining confidentiality and contractually bound not to disclose private information.
Some instances will require confidential information to be disclosed to relevant authorities where the welfare of young people overrides the needs to keep information confidential.
Parents are entitled to request information that we hold about their child on site.
Any information that has already been shared with the parent will be provided. In
some cases, it would not be appropriate for all information to be shared with the parents, staff will have to seek advice from Children’s Social Care before the information is released to the parents. Information will not be shared with parents if we feel that this will jeopardise the safety of the child/young person.
The Designated Safeguarding Lead on site is to use professional discretion when agreeing what information can be shared.
See Confidentiality policy and Fair Data Processing Notice (Privacy notice)
Storage of Information
Information recorded during any investigation/discussions etc must be kept confidential at all times by Aspire Training Team Safeguarding Lead. After a case has been closed, records will be stored on the Sdrive in a safe location and only accessible by Aspire Training Team management team and directors.
Drugs and Alcohol
If staff are suspected to be working under the influence of drugs or alcohol an
Investigation will take place. If staff are found to be working under the influence of drugs or alcohol this will be classed as Gross Misconduct which will result in disciplinary action and potentially termination of employment. For more information see colleague handbook and Alcohol and Drug Misuse Policy.
- Appointed professional for a child’s fatality – NSPCC Child protection helpline – 0800 800 5000
- NSPCC Asian child protection helpline – 0800 096 7719
- Home-start – 0116 233 9955
- NSPCC FGM Helpline – 0800 028 3550
- Parent line plus – 0808 800 2222
(Free confidential help line for anyone in a parenting role, including step-parents and those experiencing family changes)
The Prevent Duty
In accordance with the Counter-Terrorism and Security 2015, there is a statutory duty on colleges/training providers to “have due regard to the need to prevent people from being drawn into terrorism”. This is known as the Prevent duty. Aspire Training Team has a separate policy for prevention of radicalisation and extremism.
We will assess the risk of young people being drawn into terrorism, including support for extremist ideas that are part of terrorist ideology. This means being able to demonstrate both a general understanding of the risks affecting children, and young people in the local area, and a specific understanding of how to identify individual children who may be at risk of radicalisation and what to do to support them.
We will ensure that our Designated Safeguarding Lead will undertake prevent awareness training so that they can offer advice and support to other members of staff. All staff will be trained and informed, enabling them to identify anyone who may be at risk of radicalisation. We will ensure that our staff understand the risks so that they can respond in an appropriate and proportionate way. As with managing other safeguarding risks, our staff will be alert to changes in individual’s behaviour which could indicate that they may be in need of help or protection.
We will promote fundamental British values through the delivery of all our programmes
Staff will actively promote an ethos of inclusivity and tolerance where views, faiths, cultures and races are valued and young people are engaged with the wider community.
We will follow existing safeguarding procedures to ensure a comprehensive risk assessment and referral process is followed, working in partnership with our Local Authorities and Local Safeguarding Children’s Board for guidance and support.
Concerns will be raised and discussed with the Designated Safeguarding Officer, and where deemed necessary, with children’s social care. In Prevent priority areas, the local authority will have a Prevent lead who can also provide support.
On occasion, we may seek support from our local police force or use the non-emergency number 101 to gain access to support and advice and/or raise concerns by email to email@example.com. Please note that these measures must not be used in emergency situations, where you deem a young person to be in immediate danger or need. Safeguarding referral procedure must be followed in this case.
We will make a referral to ‘Channel’ if we deem an individual and/or their family are:
Engaged – in an ideology, this is sometimes referred to as psychological hooks, these include the person’s needs, their susceptibilities, their motivations and influences.
Intent – meaning those that show that a person is ready to use violence to promote their view or achieve their aim
Capable – a person who has the capability to cause harm using specific skill sets, accessible resources and/or networks
Channel is a programme which focuses on providing support at an early stage to people who are identified as being vulnerable to being drawn into terrorism. It provides a mechanism for practitioners to make referrals if they are concerned that an individual might be vulnerable to radicalisation.
Placements Checks – HASPs
Placement checks will be completed on all sites that have learners where the employer’s arrangements for Health & Safety and Welfare for learners will be assessed, employers will be required to demonstrate that they have adequate procedures in place.
Aspire Training Team Safeguarding/Child Protection Lead:
Director of Quality & Audit – Kelly Medley
Office: 01202 551553
Mobile: 07785 455437
Deputy Safeguarding/Child Protection Lead
Office: 01202 551553
Mobile: 07785 455405
Signed for and on behalf of Aspire Training Team
Safeguarding Concerns Form
Please record your concerns below.
(All information will be kept confidential)
(Record all follow up information)
Safeguarding Lead Signature:………………………………………….. Date:……………